BIG NICKS BURGER JOINT
2171 Broadway (at 77th)
New York, NY 10024
(212) 362-9238. Open 24-7 and yes… they take credit cards!
Big Nick’s is an Upper West Side old school institution that’s been around for almost 50 years. The cramped 2-room diner has a few small booths, tables and a counter with vintage stools. There’s plenty of paraphernalia, old hand written menu signs and kitsch covering just about every inch of space on the walls, counter, in the bathroom etc. It reminded me of all the junk I refuse to purge that still remains at the family house in San Francisco. Cleaning is probably tricky, particularly since the restaurant is open 24-7. At Big Nick’s, the menu is overwhelming and never ending. You can find just about anything you want or expect to, as you would at a typical late night joint. But Burgers are what Big Nick’s are known for, so that’s what we ate.
You can order a basic cheeseburger or choose from over 60 variations, like the totally bizarre Mediterranean – a Grecian burger with anchovies, slice of feta cheese and tomato, or have something fully unappetizing such as the Burger Diet Bowl – a beef burger on lettuce with tomato, fruit salad, banana slices, walnuts, cottage cheese, jello and pineapple. Ick. Honestly, I don’t think Elvis would’ve liked this, even with the bananas.
We each ordered a medium rare Bistro burger with melted swiss cheese, fried mushrooms, caramelized onions and fresh tomato on grilled thick Challah bread. It came with seasoned waffle fries. The large burger arrived, but more medium well. The meat was greasy, juicy and tasty; despite being cooked more than I had hoped, and was super crumbly. Thankfully the cheese held it together; somewhat. Unfortunately, the Challah did not work whatsoever. It was dry, thick, fell apart and there was way too much of it. The waffle fries saved the day; they weren’t too greasy and seasoned well.
We watched burgers coming off the grill, plated and brought to other tables; all of which were on buns. During our lunch, no one else had ordered the crumbly sad Bistro Burger! I guess we learned our lesson.
To end the meal at Big Nick’s our server returned, with 2 tiny bite size pieces of Baklava. It was very random and I couldn’t help but notice that the plates had red stains on it…
On the way out, I stopped to look at the grill. You can tell that a lot of burgers have been cooked on this grill for many years and possibly even by the same cooks!
Big Nick’s would be a great place to enjoy a burger in the middle of the night, or after a show at the Beacon. Sidebar: bring your own napkins because they’re not on the table and you’ll definitely need them!